What is a shapefile?

Shapefiles are computer files that produce images for users in a GIS environment.  There are three primary types of shapefiles that are used in GIS. 

  • Point(s) - address locations, etc. 
  • Line(s) - streets, streams, etc.
  • Polygon(s) - area-based features such as municipalities, parcels, etc.

There are additional file types that must be used together in order for a GIS system to display the data.  Common file types are .shp, .shx, .sbn, .dbf, etc.  

Show All Answers

1. What is a geographic information system (GIS)?
2. What kind of data is used in a GIS?
3. What is a shapefile?
4. What is spatial data?
5. What is attribute data?
6. How do I obtain a map of my property?
7. My property lines appear to be incorrect on the GIS/Mapping Portal, what should I do?
8. What year was the aerial photo on the Online Portal taken?
9. I want data that is not on the fee schedule, where can I get it?
10. Where can I obtain a more exact (engineering quality) map of my property?